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How to Measure Bicycle Wheel Size – Tips & Tricks

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Lead Academy

How do you measure bicycle wheel size? A bicycle’s wheels are it’s one of the most vital components. Bike wheels not only allow us to cycle smoothly, but they also give damping from lumps and bumps, as well as traction on the surface we’re riding on. So it’s crucial to know how to measure bicycle wheel size as there are many applications for this.

Many cyclists are unsure how to measure a bicycle wheel or a bike tire accurately, so I created this bicycle wheel size chart to assist you in determining your current wheel size and the size you’re aiming for.

So without any further ado, let’s get started.

Why Do You Need to Measure Bicycle Wheels?

Riding with wheels that are too big or tiny might cause harm to your bike. But there are many other reasons. For example:

1. Changing Your Tyres

If that’s the case, then you need to know your wheel size for the correct fit.

2. Changing Your Wheels

You may be looking into changing your wheels if your current wheel size doesn’t seem right for your bike.

3. E-bike Conversion

When converting a bike to an e-bike, you may need to change your tyres as the extra components will put added stress on the frame of the bike as well as the tyres. So, you may need to change to something more robust so that the bike frame can handle the added stress.

Measure Bicycle Wheels
wheels Riding harm to your bike

Different Types of Bicycle Wheels

Did you know that bicycle wheels also differ in their application apart from different wheel sizes?

In terms of section, there are three types of bike wheels:

  1. Shallow section wheels
  2. Mid section wheels
  3. Deep section wheels

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Bicycle maintenance isn’t as easy as you may think. You have to be aware of some of the quirks and features in these two-wheelers so that they run smoothly after years of use. Our Bicycle Maintenance Training Course will show you how to keep your bike in tip-top shape no matter how much abuse it goes through.

Shallow Section Wheels

These are used on entry-level wheels because they are inexpensive and have an excellent strength-to-weight ratio without sacrificing the comfort aspect for the rider.

Shallow section wheels are a fantastic all-around wheel that may be used for a variety of riding styles. There are a variety of models and combinations to choose from. They range from entry-level to top-of-the-line, lightweight carbon fibre climbing variants.

Take a look at these shallow section wheels from Paul Mines Cycles.

bicycle wheel sizes
What is the standard bicycle wheel size

Mid Section Wheels

These wheels aren’t as well-known or prominent as the Deep Section Wheels option. This is largely due to the misconception that a deeper wheel equals faster and better performance.

But, this isn’t always the case. Your riding style and personality may predispose you to one wheel type over another.
A mid-section wheel combines the advantages of a lightweight rim with the aerodynamic benefits of a deeper section. Many riders prefer them for all-around use because they’re light enough to climb and swift enough to ride on flat surfaces too.

The following is an example of mid section wheels from Road.cc

What size wheel is 700c
These wheels aren’t as well-known

Deep Section Wheels

The highest aerodynamic advantages for road cycling speed come from deep section wheels. They effortlessly cut through the wind and make out-of-the-saddle sprinting an exhilarating feeling that’s difficult to describe.

However, they’re best suited to flat terrain in general because aerodynamics play a bigger role there. But, with developments in manufacturing technology, they can now be light enough to ride in the mountains too.

Take a look at these wheels from Reynolds called the AR 80x.

aerodynamic advantages
The highest aerodynamic advantages

There are three types of bike wheels in terms of tubes used in the wheel:

  1. Clincher road bike wheels
  2. Tubular road bike wheels
  3. Tubeless road bike wheels

Clincher Road Bike Wheels

These are usually lighter than clincher alternatives. The reason for this is that there is no requirement for a bead seat on the inside of the rim. Depending on whether you use adhesive or tubular tape to mount your tyres, tubular wheels require extra preparation.

When utilising tubular tyres for sporting events or training, it’s good to have a spare tubular tyre on hand. These are more difficult to handle than a spare innertube. There is no time difference between changing a tubular tyre and changing an inner tube, so you’ll not be penalised in terms of time.

most common wheel
This is by far the most common wheel

Tubular Road Bike Wheels

In recent years, tubeless wheelsets have grown extremely popular. However, due to the necessity of more material on the rim to provide an airtight seal for the specific tubeless tyres used, these wheels are usually slightly heavier than clincher-only versions.

On the plus side, you won’t be using inner tubes, which means you’ll be losing some of that crucial spinning mass. Because of their construction, pinch punctures are also less likely.

Tubeless Road Bike Wheels

In recent years, tubeless wheelsets have grown extremely popular. However, due to the necessity of more material on the rim to provide an airtight seal for the specific tubeless tyres used, these wheels are usually slightly heavier than clincher-only versions.

On the plus side, you won’t be using inner tubes, which means you’ll be losing some of that crucial spinning mass. Because of their construction, pinch punctures are also less likely.

How to Measure Bicycle Wheel Size - Tips & Tricks

How to Measure Bicycle Wheel Size – Step by Step Guide

Now, onto our main discussion: how do you measure a bike wheel?

So, there are a couple of ways of measuring a bicycle wheel. However, we’re only going to talk about two today:

  1. Standard method
  2. ISO method

As a quick side note, if you need to measure the circumference of your tyre quickly, simply start by measuring the diameter and then multiply the diameter by pi (π = 3.14159).

Standard Method

The standard method is called standard because it’s the quickest way to measure bicycle wheel size. The following is a step by step guide to measuring a bicycle wheel using the standard method:

1. Place your bicycle on its kickstand or against a wall to make it more stable.

2. To find your wheel radius, place the bottom of the tape measure at the lowest point of the tire on the ground, keep the measurement tape in a straight line and take it to the bike wheel’s centre or the hub.

3. To calculate the diameter of your wheel, multiply the radius by two.

4. Place the measuring tape across the top of the tire to determine its width.

5. The numbers you’ve gotten are your standard measures. If you need to describe it to somebody, list the tire diameter first, then the tire width. For example: A tyre size of 27.5″ x 2.10″ means the tyre is 27.5 inches in diameter and the width is 2.10 inches.

6. If you’re struggling with fractions, know that bike wheel diameters are rounded to the nearest half-inch. So round up or down to the next size if your measurements are just above or under.

bicycle wheel size chart
wheelsets have grown extremely popular.

ISO Method

ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. As you can imagine, they have some fixed measures for bicycles that aims to standardise the process.

As the ISO wheel size standard is international, it leaves out any confusing part while trying to determine a bike’s wheel size.

The ISO standards system has two separate numbers, which are frequently printed on the sidewalls of tires and rims.

The essential number in ISO tire size is the second digit, which represents the wheel’s bead seat diameter.

If your wheel rim or tire does not have size marks, you can use the ISO wheel size chart to cross-reference and learn more about the size of your bike’s wheels after measuring them.

Bicycle Wheel Size
ISO Bead Seat Diameter Traditional Sizings Applications
305 mm 12″ 16 x 1.75 – 16 x 2.125 Folding bikes
406 mm 16″ 20 x 1.5 – x 2.125 BMX

Children’s bikes

Folding bikes

507 mm 20″ 24 x 1.5- x 2.125 Children’s mountain bikes
559 mm 22″ Mountain bikes

Schwinn bikes

571 mm 22.5″ 26 x 1, 26 x 1 ¾

650 C

Cannondale bikes

Wheels for shorter cyclists

Schwinn bikes

584 mm 23″ 26 x 1 1/2, 27.5

650b

French bikes

Tandem and touring bikes

Raleigh & Schwinn mountain bikes

622 mm 24.5″ 28 x 1 ⅝  x 1 ½

29 inch

28 x 1 ½  F.13

700c

All bike types

Conclusion

Hopefully, if you’ve found the information in this blog useful, you should know by now how to measure bicycle wheel sizes. Note that if you want to buy new tyres for your bike, opt for the ISO measurements when you talk with the shops. This will leave out any discrepancies in communication. Furthermore, do look out for your bike. Maintain it well, so you’ll always have the smoothest ride possible.

FAQs

What is the standard bicycle wheel size?

700c wheel is, by far, the most common size for bicycle wheels, including some mountain bike wheels.

What size wheel is 700c?

Any tire, rim, or wheel with a 622mm diameter is referred to as 700C.

What age is a 26 inch wheel bike for?

26-inch wheels are usually installed on bikes aimed at people who are 13+ in age.

How to measure bike wheel size with the standard method?

Please refer to the section Standard Method in the blog.

How to measure bike tire with the ISO method?

Please refer to the section ISO Method in the blog.

How to measure a bike wheel rim for tire size?

Please refer to the section How to Measure Bicycle Wheel Size – Step by Step Guide in the blog.

How to measure kids’ bike wheels?

Please refer to the section How to Measure Bicycle Wheel Size – Step by Step Guide in the blog.

What size is my wheel?

If you don’t know your wheel size, please refer to the section Standard Method in the blog. It will show you how to measure your wheel size. Once you’re done, you can cross-refer with the ISO Method to know the international size.

Alternatively, you can see the tyre on your wheel to know what wheel size they are on.

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